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Friday, January 07, 2005

Copyright, Tsunami and Video Blogs

The Wall Street Journal has a story about the rising popularity of Video Blogs (paid subscription required). It also illustrates the culture (and acceptability?) of the Internet in taking clips from others and posting it on your own blog.
Bloggers don't charge for access, but they haven't been paying for copyrighted footage, either. And bloggers seldom ask each other for permission. "The law really hasn't caught up," says Mr. Golson. "The rule of thumb is you can take stuff as long as you say where you got it from," and as long as you don't sell it, he adds.

Rule of Thumb? I'm not advocating a slew of copyright suits, but I don't think all copyright holders would find this rule of thumb acceptable.

However, the Rule of Thumb worked out for Mr. Tommy Lorensten from Sweeden. He was the one that shot the compelling video of the tsunami hitting Phuket where an elderly couple was overcome by a wave and where the spot Mr. Lorensten was once standing was suddenly 3-4 feet under water. Mr. Golson has the clip here.

After widspread circulation on the Internet, the rights to Mr. Lorensten video was sold to CNN, ABC News and others for a reported total of $20,000.00. Although, I'm not certain whether Mr. Lorensten saw any of that money, because the WSJ article seemed to imply that the rights were sold by Norway's Dagbladet newspaper. In that case, Mr. Lorensten might have a legitimate beef.

Hat tip, Kevin Heller.


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